// The High Cost of Poverty: Why the Poor Pay More.
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jannah
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« on: May 22, 2009 06:58 AM »


This is a great article. Some people say why don't the poor just move out of the ghettos or get jobs or whatever. They just don't understand that it's a lot more complex than that and that a lot of stores, companies, financial systems prey on the poor on purpose.  Seriously, read it!!!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/17/AR2009051702053.html?g=0
You have to be rich to be poor. That's what some people who have never lived below the poverty line don't understand. Put it another way: The poorer you are, the more things cost. More in money, time, hassle, exhaustion, menace. This is a fact of life that reality television and magazines don't o...
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« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2009 04:27 PM »

There was an radio show about that in Toronto a few weeks back. The mainstream supermarkets in the poor areas charged more for meats and produce. However, some of the callers argued that due to the ethnic makeup, the ethnic stores fill in the gap and provided some of the much needed services, such as lower priced produce and meat (and paan Smiley). There is a few places where there are like 4-5 halal meat stores in a 1500 ft strip of road, with customers from all over the world visit and buy(otherwise, how can all the stores survive?). The Chinese investors are buying up older large format grocery stores in the city that the name brand chains have abondoned (in the poorer areas, of course) and turning them in ethnic grocery stores. In fact, there one chain that has 4 separate aisle inside for other people: A Jamacian West Indian, Indian and European Aisle (the ethnic store has ethnic aisle in it!).

The costs of living in the poorer area is more expensive than living in a richer area. I'm about to purchase a 4 bedroom house in the edge of the 'burbs that will cost $1300/month + utils (on a no-interest mortgage), but for the same cost/month, my sister and her husband live in a sub 600 sq ft one bedroom condo with their child for the same price in the urban area of the city.

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« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2009 12:46 AM »

It's tricky with those ethnic grocery stores. Some things are cheaper and some things are more expensive. Usually the quality of things are abysmal though. Like cleanliness and labeling and packaging. I think wal-mart has been getting in on the action by making ethnic areas in their stores in certain parts of the country. Our regular supermarket even here now has a "south asian" section with basmati rice and canned curry. Much cheaper than desi stores. So just the planning of going to different places to buy the cheaper things in each store takes up a lot of time and driving. Doubt anyone from the inner city would bother.

I think the politics of poverty is a very important subject for Muslims. We should be interested and try to figure out ways to help the poor.
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« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2009 12:19 PM »

This story is so true.
I can't tell you how many times 'well to do people' have given me advice that was so impractical and so unrealistic.

Recently a bro told me I wasted so much money by going to the laundromat, this article actually addresses this... Sure I don't like doing it- but the landlord won't allow a washing machine and a dryer would blow a fuse because the house is so old! Sure i could move- but rent is cheap and I've got a large apartment.
 Wink gotta admit tho... love going to the laundromat... I get 6 loads done in 90 minutes!

Food is a big issue- one example- just recently my hubby told me i did not need to buy eggs when we were at the grocery store. He just brought home a dozen eggs from the farmers market. I was happy because they are free range/organic chicken's eggs. Trying to be more 'green', thinking of the benefits, I was pleased serving these kind of eggs to my family. A couple of days later i saw the receipt...$3.50 a dozen!  The eggs at the PC were only 99 cents!!
That is more than 3X the cost. I can get eggs and a gallon of milk for that price!

As a current issue- too many people asked why I wasn't going to ICNA. Usually I answered it is too much for my budget and they just look at you with blank not understanding stares. When my good friend asked, her hubby recently busted me for spending foolishly (once a week i go out with the sisters after class for coffee)  when i said i wasn't going to ICNA. He put me over the edge...so I made her write down all the realistic expenses of a family of three going- such as renting a car for three days, gas up and back @ $2.53 a gallon!, hotel for 2 nights, tip for the maids, convention costs, 27 meals, snacks, drinks, (let's admit..some money for shopping), a few $ for the neighbors to take care of the birds...etc.... After she wrote down and calculated- she actually got it! Subhanna Allah- she never thought about the costs as her husband always took care of everything with a piece of plastic.

Subhanna Allah- i am so grateful for all of Allah swt provisions. Alhumdullillah i am quiet content with what i have and do not have the yearning for more- which is quiet a blessing. I just post these comments as a way to explain some of the struggles so people will understand more.

"Allah surely knows the warmth of every teardrop... " Jaihoon
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« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2009 12:22 AM »

Assalamualaikum,

Jazakillahu khair, Kathy for the insights.

Alhamdulillah, I feel priviledged that Allah has made me taste a little of what many of us are struggling with while I was an international student. But that time was one of my most joyous times. The simplicity of living, the richness of having friends and knowing that I'm picking lots of gems along that journey was just priceless.

Something that I read in Obama's book "Dreams of my father" that struck me was when he said that poverty is a perception. HOw true is that, mashaAllah. Would one feel deprived of a frappaccino, if one is contented with drinking water?

Richness is in contentness. I believe there's a hadith that says to that extent. The feeling of qana'a. With gratefulness and contentness with what ALlah has blessed us with, we'll always feel rich (ghina').

Wassalamu'alaikum
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« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2009 12:05 PM »

Asalaamu Alaikum  bro

One of the blessings of Ramadhan is being able to experience what it feels like to go without food and water.


All too often you hear people saying ‘..be patient..’ and whilst that may be good (well intentioned) advice, there is a certain lack of empathy if the giver of that advice doesn’t really know what it ‘feels’ like to go through a particular situation.


The *knowledge* and the* experience* of an event are two completely different things.

Say: "O ye my servants who believe! Fear your Lord, good is (the reward) for those who do good in this world. Spacious is God's earth! those who patiently persevere will truly receive a reward without measure!" [39:10]
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« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2009 06:00 AM »

peace be upon you

When you buy in bulk, you can get a discount. There are wholesale stores that typically give you a five to ten percent discount. But when you are poor, you cannot afford to buy in bulk. You may have money only for a meal or two.

I do most of our shopping at such stores. I buy half a goat for mutton in one go, and we freeze the meat. A poor person would never be able to buy mutton here. It is so pricey. I switched to mutton because of my increased Cholestrol level. I do not eat fat, and I am very thin, but it seems my body manufactures cholestrol from everything I eat. But the expense is making me think of going back to beef.

For the poor though, beef is also out of question. In fact, they are lucky on Eidul Adha, for we Muslims typically give away at least a third of our sacrifice. When I used to get my sacrifice done here in this city, I would see little kids coming and taking away meat and bones. Once on Eidul Adha, I saw this little girl with her even littler brother. She came back a few times to get more of the bones and the meat.  Finally she was carrying a  cow's head. I gave them a lift to their flat in one of several decrepit buildings housing low-level employees of the government. I asked her wouldn't the meat rot in the heat. She told me this was the only time in the year they could lay their hands on meat. So they salt and dry the meat for use later.

Every day I see kids and old men and women collecting papers, cardboards, and other recyclable items from rubbish bins. Rubbish bins, I tell you - smelly, bug-laden rubbish bins. Sometimes they pick up a half-eaten rotten piece of fruit, and eat it. These kids have developed skin diseases.

Everyday when I go out, there are kids begging in the markets or the traffic signals. I know where they come from. There are shanty settlements housing displaced persons, like Afghans and other migrants, whose parents or uncles deposit these people in the respective begging points, and collect them at night. Begging is an organized racket/ and for some a necessity.

I have stopped giving them alms, but I wonder if I am doing right. Just give them something to eat, I tell myself. Money will encourage their handlers. But some kids say they give the money to their mothers for housekeeping.

Secondly, in the West, at least in the initial phase, the ethnic store owners are themselves poor, so they too buy their wares in small quantities. Add to this the transportation costs, and they are not making huge profits. The reason the quality is poor is also because once having bought their wares, they have to sell it eevn if it gets degraded with time. They cannot afford to throw these away.

As the cost of living goes up and up, my wife quietly subsidizes our living, and this when my pension is quite reasonable. What of the people who have to live on one-seventh of my pension? And what of people who are unable to get jobs, and hence have no money?

The elite, the powerful, get free rides and breaks, while the downtrodden get pushed down even more and more. There are more than fifty ministers in the Federal cabinet. The last President wiped off all cases of corruption against the politicians and the bureaucrats. There are quite a few Pakistanis in the US and Canada with at least tens of millions of dollars as commissions and cuts. Others have the loot in Swiss and Luxemburg accounts, and in the UK.

After the demise of his wife, Mr. 10-50-100% is now the President. Typically these so-called leaders go on private tours disguised as official ones, taking with them 100 or so free-riders. They stay in five star-hotels, hire limousines, live it up in nightclubs, and meet a third or fourth order bureaucrat to make their trips official ones.

At a minimum, any deal carries a seven percent commission for the person signing the deal. Those who facilitate the deal, get their cut, too. Sometimes the deal is a 90% cut.

This is the democracy about which Mr. Zardari said: "My democracy will deliver".

Laughable. All our leaders are corrupt or clowns, but they are clever enough to hide their loot in the Western democracies.

The so-called aid that the third world countries get isn't much when the cost of the Western consultancies is paid for. Since these are tied to buying from the donors (this is what they call themselves, they are actually lenders) at inflated prices, the real benefit is even less. Add to this the percentage that is paid in foreign exchange, and hidden in the lender countries, and clearly the poor carry the burden while the powerful pocket the "aid".

Are these the times when Tasbeeh will suffice for food, or is this the time for a change?

The Pakistanis have been found to be the most givers, yet the poverty seems to keep growing. Where is all the money going. The government increased the price of petrol to Rs. 85 per litre  from Rs 30 when the oil hit $130 a barrel. It was brought down to Rs 57 when it came to $100 a barrel. Since then oil has come down so much $35-50 a barrel, but no  further cuts. The Supreme Court eventually ordered the government to bring the price down substantially within a week, and it has now been cut by Rs. 1.50

I mean, can you believe it.

Roti, the staple food, has gone from Rs. 2 per piece to Rs. 5

Women, old men, kids, maulvis, and charity organizations, too, keep ringing bells. All they ask for is wheat flour for making roti. One bag of wheat flour. One measly 20 kg bag. At Rs 32 per kg, it is only Rs 640, but it won't go far, for a family of say five. Typically the families are larger. And the maulvis are asking for the wards in their madrassas. It has become so common, one's immediate reaction is "no", for one person cannot solve the problems of all.

As for clothing, even the lunda bazaar (second hand clothing stores, mostly donations from the West) is way too expensive for them.

I am glad I am not poor. I have had one unfulfilled desire - not having to see poverty any more. I want to continue to see, but not poverty.

If the Western governments were sincere about helping the poor countries, they would confiscate all the money held by the Zardaris, the Bhuttos, the Musharrafs, the Rehman Maliks, in short the Generals, the Presidents, the Ministers etc. Then return these monies to the countries from which the money has been looted. But they provide safe havens to the corrupt, and the poor pay for the loot.
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« Reply #7 on: Aug 11, 2009 01:26 AM »

Salaam Dear Timbuktu,

      I honestly pray and wish, that your dream of seeing poverty in this world goes away. I really hope this happens soon... Ameen.....

'Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: "I will create a vicegerent on earth." They said: "Wilt Thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood? Whilst we do celebrate Thy praise and glorify Thy holy (name)?" He said: "I know what ye know not." 'Surah Al-Baqarah (2:30)
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